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Visions, dreams, prophecies, and cognitive heuristics

Someone quite close to me shared with me a vivid dream he saw of multitudes people being sucked into a fierce fiery storm. His immediate sense in the dream was that this storm was people going to hell. In the dream he cried to God to save them. God rebuked the storm but expressed disappointment that even people who he had trusted only cared for their own lot while people were perishing.

So recently with the covid-19 developments and vaccines, he intimated his persuasion that vaccines are the storm he saw in his dream.

I then asked him, scripturally speaking, what would send people to hell on judgement day. We both settled on Jesus’s narration in chapter 25 of Matthew’s gospel. In essence Jesus says those that fail to “love their neighbour” would be sent to the eternal fire (this term, eternal fire, of course requires a whole exegesis on its own).

So, I ask him how he arrives at his conclusion of equating taking vaccines with the judgement process. He strenuously rebutted such insinuation indicating that was not what he meant.

I explained how our cognitive heuristics (for an explanation of cognitive heuristics check out my previous post) can bypass all critical reasoning faculties and transport us to a destination not of our own choice. We discussed how his heuristics had morphed scripture, contemporary dominant narratives and his dream into a single thread and catapulted him into a conclusion that was in fact contrary to what scripture says.

I speculated that his dream may have meant the exact opposite of his conclusion. If “loving your neighbour” will be the primary judgement criteria as we agreed, and if Christians are so overwhelmed with the fear to the point that their sole preoccupation is avoiding vaccines and 666 (however this is interpreted), and forget to live out the one core criteria of judgement, isn’t that orientation like a proverbial storm sucking them into hell?

It seems to me Jesus gave us the exam questions for sociology but many of us are studying eschatology.

Increasingly prophets of exemplary character and uprightness, are waking up to the stark reality of how our cognitive heuristics can catapult us into meanings and conclusions that have little to do with the vision, dream, or prophecy they received.

There is only one remedy to this convoluted mess; we need to get out of our echo chambers and fellowship with those that are of a different persuasion from us. This way we keep each other in check.

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